El Centrocampista

THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER – But can Betis make it four out of four?


La Liga is now in full swing with most clubs having played at least four games.

Surprise draws for both Real Madrid and Barcelona last night means that Valencia sit top with 10 points.

That, however, could all change tonight when Real Betis play Real Zaragoza.

It is an unlikely game to decide top spot after 4 games but a win for Betis would see them top the tree of Spanish football.

It is obviously early in the season and no-one expects Betis to be challenging the whole year but after their recent troubles it is a quite remarkable achievement.

Betis really ‘started as they meant to go on’ with a good preseason in England and Wales.

They looked every bit a well-oiled team and the trip gave a great chance for some of the new players to bed into a squad that looked good during promotion last season.

Pepe Mel's side enjoyed a fantastic win at San Mames last week.

After the players strike, which postponed their game against fierce rivals Sevilla, they took on Granada in the first competitive match of the season.

After a tight encountered; Betis scored late through Ruben Castro and went on to win 1 nil.  The defeat of Grenada was not the only good news for Betico fans in the first full week of La Liga.

The signing of Roque Santa Cruz on a yearlong loan from Manchester City showed real intent.

He joined an already strong forward line that should score plenty of goals this campaign.

Santa Cruz made his first appearance as a substitute during the 1 nil win at home to Mallorca. He impressed the Betis faithful and another late goal, again by Castro, proved enough to see off Mallorca.

The first real test for Betis came in their game on Sunday against Athletic Bilbao.

The task, however, was made somewhat easier by recent troubles for the Basque club regarding their new manager and his style of play.

Betis won the encounter 3 – 2 with first half goals from Benat, Nacho and Sevilla. This result made it three out of three and they now have a chance to go top if they avoid defeat tonight.

At the start of the season Betis employed two new psychiatrists to work with all levels of the club from the academy players all the way through to the first team. The nurture of their players would appear to be reaping early rewards.

In the build up to the game tonight both manager and players have been singing from the same song sheet. Beñat has stated that the team are currently not looking at the table and just thinking about the next game.

This has been echoed by manager Mel who has ordered his team to “only look to the next game”.

It would be easy for Betis to get carried away. With teams faltering around them their next three games are all win-able; with Zaragoza on tonight, Getafe on Sunday and Levante the following Sunday.

It is not until after that game that they face their first real test in the form of Real Madrid.

The key to success so far has been their ability to get crucially timed goals mixed with a stout defence. This has been resonated by comments of Dorado who stated “in this team we are concerned with both defending and attacking”.

It is unlikely that Betis’ last game of the season against Barcelona will be a title deciding game but it’ll be interesting to see whether they are still top when they play Madrid in four games time. All in all thought, Mel and Betis couldn’t have hoped for more.


  1. Jafar

    22 September, 2011 at 20:45

    As a Valencia fan I hope they don’t I want to enjoy top spot as long as possible.

  2. David Smith

    22 September, 2011 at 22:31

    It’s currently 4 – 1 Jafer and they look very good so far I’m afraid!

  3. Jafar

    23 September, 2011 at 22:19

    Wow I certainly didn’t expect Betis to be the leaders of the league, if someone told me that Betis would be league leaders on the fourth(fifth) match-day I would say they are crazyand it’s not just that they are the league toppers it’s more the way they did it with some great attacking football, respect!

    It will be interesting to see how they will do against better opponents because Granada,Zaragoza and Mallorca aren’t the greatest opponents but still they did great to be up there.

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